Lulu Lytle and Sophie Coryndon’s shared love of medieval manuscripts and Renaissance art is at the heart of their new collaboration. The patterns they have developed together draw the viewer into a subtle world of often-overlooked imagery, from the punched gold background of a Pre-Reformation altar panel to the tapestry of wild flowers underfoot in a Renaissance painting.
Sophie’s life and career as a fine artist has given her a natural sympathy with Soane’s enduring commitment to British craftsmanship and its reimagining of traditional objects. Having spent her early life watching and assisting her father, the master cabinetmaker Nick Coryndon, she went on to set up a business in paint finishing and restoration. Later Sophie began to create her own artworks, and over 10 years has honed the large-scale textural pieces that sit on the line between two- and three-dimensional works, and employ a range of techniques from gilding and embroidery to sculpture and bronze casting.
Sophie has instilled the new collaboration with her love of texture and detail, working closely with Lulu to find the ideal patterns to render on fabric and paper, with medieval motifs and their descendants in European art at the heart of the designs. It was Sophie’s suggestion to use the delicate leaf pattern in the tooled gold leaf background of the 14th-century Wilton Diptych as the basis for the ‘Wilton Vine’ wallpaper. Sophie’s fascination with the background texture of the Renaissance gold-cloth ‘Fishmongers’ Pall’, with its highly intricate embroidery of mermaids, saints and angels was the starting point for the collection’s woven fabric ‘Nereid’.
Lulu, on the other hand, had long wanted to create a textile based on a late 17th- or early 18th-century upholstery fabric at Ham House, and this has found new life in the lively, sprawling foliage of the boldly scaled ‘Strawberry Crown’, exquisitely drawn by Sophie. A more understated botanical print, ‘Albarello’, takes inspiration from the Moorish tradition of earthenware pharmacy jars, whose exteriors were often painted to signify their contents, while flowers and leaves with a former life in Fra Angelico’s 15th-century fresco of the Annunciation bustle over the surface of the ‘Cloister Garden’ wallpaper.
The collection is marked by rich jewel like tones–greens, blues, reds and yellows. Says Sophie, ‘one of the things that I love about Soane is the deep, exuberant historical colours. Working on this project reignited the love of colour which had informed my first paintings.”
As all good collaborations should be, this one has been a true meeting of minds. For Lulu, the key has been that ‘Sophie is a true artist. She has the ability to take elements from old pieces, keeping the origins intact, but crafting them into something entirely her own. She is extraordinarily talented and empathetic; I couldn’t have wished to collaborate with anyone more inspiring.’
From second gallery left to right: Sophie Coryndon Strawberry Crown in Tawny Red shown with The Rout Chair upholstered in Nereid Tawny Red; Sophie Coryndon Strawberry Crown in Strawberry shown with Wilton Vine Wallpaper in Hart Green; Sophie Coryndon Albarello in Ink shown with Wilton Vine Wallpaper in Old Gold; Sophie Coryndon Cloister Garden Wallpaper in Fresco Pink; Sophie Coryndon Strawberry Crown in Belladonna; The Daisy Mirror in Large shown with Sophie Coryndon Wilton Vine Wallpaper in Old Gold; Sophie Coryndon Nereid in Torne Blue upholstered onto chair; Sophie Coryndon Wilton Vine Wallpaper in Hart Green shown with Strawberry Crown in Strawberry; Strawberry Crown in Vermeer Blue
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